Category Archives: Natural Stone Countertops

Need a kitchen sink and wondering why there are so many options?

Posted by ExquisiteStone on June 8, 2024

When renovating a kitchen or choosing fixtures for a new home, one of the decisions that might not seem major at first but has significant practical implications is the thickness of your stainless-steel kitchen sink’s metal. This is typically measured in gauge, with common options being 16-gauge and 18-gauge. Understanding the differences between these two can help you make an informed choice that balances durability, aesthetics, and cost. Here’s a detailed look at the pros and cons of 16-gauge and 18-gauge kitchen sinks.

What does “Gauge” mean?

In metal, the gauge refers to the thickness.  A lower gauge means thicker metal, so a 16-gauge sink is thicker than an 18-gauge sink. The thickness affects several aspects of the sink’s performance and durability.

16-gauge Kitchen Sinks

  • Durability: 16-gauge sinks are generally more durable than 18-gauge.  The extra thickness provides resistance to dents and physical damage, which is a plus for a busy home.
  • Noise Reduction: Thicker metal tends to absorb vibration better, which means less noise when you’re washing dishes.
  • Quality of Feel: A thicker sink often feels more solid and less ‘tinny’ when tapped or used, contributing to a perception of higher quality and robust construction.
  • Cost: Because they use more material, 16-gauge sinks are more costly than 18-gauge sinks. This can be a significant factor if budget constraints are tight.

18-gauge Kitchen Sinks

  • Cost-Effective: These sinks are typically less expensive than thicker models, making them a more budget-friendly option for homeowners.
  • Wide Variety:  Because 18-gauge sinks are more common, there’s usually a wider variety of styles and sizes available, making it easier to find one that fits your kitchen’s design.
  • Less Durable: Thinner metal can be more prone to denting and bending, especially under the impact of heavy kitchen use.
  • More Noise: An 18-gauge sink will generally be noisier than a 16-gauge one, as it is less capable of dampening the sound of running water and clanging dishes.

Making the Right Choice

The decision between a 16-gauge and an 18-gauge kitchen sink often comes down to personal preference and practical considerations like your budget and kitchen usage. If durability and quality are your top concerns a 16-gauge sink might be the best choice. However, if you’re looking for a cost-effective option and are willing to compromise slightly on durability and noise, an 18-gauge sink would suffice. 

Need more information about stainless-steel sinks?  Exquisite Stone stocks many options to fit any space from the basement wetbar to the kitchen to the coffee nook in the study.  Stop by today to check out our variety and get started on your next countertop project! 

Ancient Homeowners Also Wanted Stone Countertops

Posted by ExquisiteStone on May 14, 2024

Pompeii, the ancient Roman city buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, is renowned for its extraordinary preservation of daily life, art, and architecture. Among the well-preserved features are the splendid natural stone countertops that adorned the homes of Pompeii’s prosperous citizens. These countertops, crafted from materials like marble and granite, serve as a testament to the enduring allure and functionality of natural stone in interior design.

Pompeii Marketplace

The ancient Romans were masters of engineering and design, and their choices in materials were a testament to their sophistication. Natural stone countertops were highly favored in Pompeii for several reasons:

1. Aesthetic Grandeur: Natural stone countertops in Pompeii were often crafted from marbles like Carrara, which boasted exquisite veining patterns and a luminous surface. These countertops added a touch of opulence to the homes and reflected the social status of their owners.

2. Durability: The eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii for centuries, and yet the natural stone countertops remained remarkably intact. This enduring quality testifies to the robust nature of these materials, which can withstand the test of time and the rigors of daily life.

3. Hygienic Properties: Natural stone easier to clean and maintain than other materials available at the time, making it an ideal choice for countertops. In an era where hygiene was of utmost importance, natural stone surfaces contributed to a healthier living environment.

Marble Installation at Pompeii

Natural stone countertops have a long history throughout the world, and our own modern selection choices are made with the same priorities as ancient peoples.  The durability, aesthetic features, and timeless elegance of natural stone endures through time all the way from 79 AD to today. 

Contact Exquisite Stone today for timeless countertop options!

Granite is the Ultimate World Traveler

Posted by ExquisiteStone on April 16, 2024

Granite, known for its durability, natural beauty, and versatile applications, is a widely used stone in construction and interior design. But have you ever wondered about the journey granite takes from the depths of the earth to your kitchen countertop or the facades of iconic buildings? In this blog, we will delve into the fascinating world of granite quarry processes, shedding light on the intricate steps involved in extracting, processing, and bringing this stunning natural resource to life.

Step 1: Geological Exploration

Experts study the earth’s crust to identify areas with granite deposits. These areas are meticulously surveyed, and once a suitable deposit is located, the quarrying process can commence.

Step 2: Site Preparation

Preparation involves clearing vegetation and the layer of soil and rock that covers the granite deposits. This process ensures access to the desired granite bedrock.

Step 3: Drilling and Blasting

Once the site is prepared, the next step involves drilling holes into the granite using specialized equipment. Explosive charges are then strategically placed in these holes to blast apart the granite. This process breaks the granite into manageable pieces that can be extracted.

Step 4: Extraction

The granite blocks created through blasting are extracted using cranes and loaders.

Step 5: Transport

The extracted granite blocks are loaded onto trucks and transported to processing facilities or storage yards.

Step 6: Cutting and Shaping

At the processing facility, the granite blocks are cut and shaped into various products. This step is a combination of art and science, with skilled craftsmen using diamond-tipped saws and other precision tools to create slabs, tiles, and custom pieces according to specifications.

Step 7: Polishing

After cutting, the granite surfaces are polished to reveal their natural luster and rich colors. This enhances the stone’s aesthetic appeal, making it ready for use in a variety of architectural and design applications.

Step 8: Quality Control

Before the granite products are shipped to their final destinations, they undergo rigorous quality control checks to ensure the stone meets industry standards for strength, color consistency, and appearance.

Step 9: Distribution

Once the granite has passed quality control, it is distributed to suppliers, manufacturers, and construction projects worldwide.

The journey of granite from quarry to its final destination is a fascinating process that combines science, artistry, and precision. Granite quarry processes involve geological exploration, site preparation, drilling, blasting, extraction, transport, cutting, shaping, polishing, quality control, and distribution. This natural stone’s journey reflects the skill and dedication of those involved in the granite industry and its enduring appeal in architecture and design. The next time you admire a granite countertop or the exterior of a grand building, you can appreciate the incredible journey the stone has undertaken to become a part of our lives.

You Have Natural Stone Countertops, Now You Should Seal Them

Posted by ExquisiteStone on March 19, 2024

Natural stone countertops such as granite, marble and quartzite are porous materials, meaning they have tiny openings and capillaries that can absorb liquids. Sealing is an essential protective measure to prevent damage due to daily wear-n-tear.

It sounds like an inconvenience, but treating natural stone with a penetrating sealer creates a protective layer that repels liquids, preventing substances like red wine, oils, and acidic foods from penetrating the stone and causing stains.

Steps to Properly Seal Natural Stone Countertops

1. CLEAN THOROUGHLY:  Before sealing, ensure your countertops are clean and free of any stains, dirt, or debris. Use a pH-neutral stone cleaner for the best results.

2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SEALER:  Select a sealer based on the type of natural stone you have. Check out recommendations from Exquisite Stone here.

3. VENTILATE:  Adequate ventilation is essential when applying sealers to minimize exposure to fumes. Open windows and doors or use fans if necessary.

4. APPLY SEALER:  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the sealer. Typically, this involves evenly applying the sealer in small sections and allowing it to penetrate the stone for the specified time.

5. BUFF & REMOVE EXCESS:  After the sealer has had time to penetrate, use a clean, dry cloth or paper towels to remove any excess sealer from the surface.

6. CURE:  Give the sealer ample time to cure and create a protective barrier. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, so be patient.

7. MAINTAIN:  Reapply the sealer as needed.  Exquisite Stone recommends every 3 to 5 years for most materials but please contact the sales team with any questions.

Sealing natural stone countertops is a vital part of preserving their beauty and longevity. By taking the time to follow proper sealing procedures, you can ensure that your countertops remain a stunning focal point in your kitchen or bathroom for years to come. A little maintenance now will go a long way in protecting your investment and maintaining the timeless elegance of your natural stone countertops.  Contact Exquisite Stone for information about sealers and helpful tips.